Moving to Birmingham
Are you moving to Birmingham? England’s second largest city, encompassing an area of 80 square miles is situated in the heart of the Midlands. Birmingham is multicultural, vibrant and young at heart – 46% of residents are under 30 years of age. With its airport having links to all the major motorways, the city is central to business travellers and commuters being 118 miles from London, 86 miles from Manchester and 90 miles from Bristol. Birmingham has much to offer in terms of accommodation, schools, colleges, shopping centres and cultural activities. It has various sporting venues, including the famous Edgbaston Cricket Ground, which hosts international cricket matches.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Birmingham report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Birmingham on the Map
Birmingham originated as a 6th-century Anglo-Saxon village. Later, in medieval times, Birmingham had grown into a medium-sized market town but only reached international prominence during the 18th century. This period, the Industrial Revolution, boosted the town to spearhead worldwide overtures in technology, science, and economic growth. In 1791 it was hailed “the first manufacturing town in the world”. Birmingham and the West Midlands still has the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, boasting manufacturing of transport, aerospace, automotive, machinery and military equipment. The city attracts around a quarter of the country’s Foreign Investment, and exports grew to £28.97 billion in 2015.
One of the most multicultural cities in the UK, Birmingham has residents from a range of ethnic, national and religious backgrounds. Natives of Birmingham are known as Brummies, derived from the city’s nickname, Brum. Locals have an easily recognisable accent and dialect.
An excellent public services grid ensures efficient and prompt transportation. The rail network is one of the largest and most integrated in the UK and the bus service is amongst the busiest in Europe.
With excellent rail, road and air travel links, Birmingham airport is the country’s third-largest outside London, with 10.1 million passengers travelling through annually. It is connected to the Birmingham New Street station by a free Air-Rail Link, which takes two minutes, operating between 05:15 and 02:00 daily.
It’s sporting background heritage encompasses the conception of the Football League, and surprisingly, lawn tennis, which both originated here. The city has two major football clubs, Birmingham City and Aston Villa.
Living in the city centre is expensive, but being close to work is such an advantage in terms of traffic and transport. The best areas are the Jewellery Quarter, with 18th and 19th-century terraces, townhouses and beautiful apartment complexes created out of converted factories, The Mailbox, is modern developments close to the city’s busiest nightlife along the banks of the canal, and Digbeth, previously an industrial area which has become the city’s creative centre with the Custard Factory shopping complex and office spaces, which is just a short stroll to other shopping centres, such as the Bullring and New Street.
Quick and easy to get into the city via public transport, Molesley was recently hailed as the best place to live in Great Britain. Its proximity to spacious parks offers an array of activities from music and food festivals to cycling, jogging and getting close to nature. The scenic Cannon Hill Park, spreading into Edgbaston, has a Grade-2 listed bandstand, lakes, ponds and the Midlands Art Centre. Good schools complete the picture.
Slightly further from the city centre, this prosperous suburb has a youthful population, with plenty of nightlife, including a Michelin-starred restaurant called Turner’s. The heart of the village is around St Peter’s church, with a country cottage feel rather than an inner city suburb. The area features a mix of Edwardian and Victorian architecture and more modern structures. The beautiful Harborne Walkway which follows the route of an old railway makes for a lovely countryfied stroll.
Just three miles south-west of the city, this leafy suburb is home to some of the best state and private schools in the UK and has nifty public transport hubs to Birmingham. A green area with masses of trees, it also has a vast selection of homes, from one and two-bed apartments to massive Georgian mansions. With excellent medical facilities in the shape of the Queen Elizabeth hospital, it is also on the doorstep of the University of Birmingham campus. The historic clock tower, Old Joe, reaches a height of 11 metres, commemorating Joseph Chamberlain, the first chancellor. Folklore says that should students walk through its archway while the clock chimes, they will fail their exams.
The area is earmarked for developments in its shopping area. The developer is quoted as saying “a vibrant and high-quality retail and leisure destination” featuring new shops, restaurants and cafes.
A more affordable area, Kings Heath is south of Moseley, and on the same bus route. It has a busy high street, with all the large chain stores and plenty of smaller family shops, and hosts the monthly street food market. Close to the university campus, it comes as standard that there is ample student accommodation, but also plenty of affordable family homes. The parks, Kings Heath, Selly Park, Pebble Mill and Highbury add greenery and other attractions to the area.
Just six miles north of Birmingham, this popular residential area with excellent transport links to the city has leafy suburbs and historic buildings, with 2400 acres of Sutton Park and most of the city’s green belt providing lots of open space. It has been voted one of the best places in England to bring up children. Finishing eighth out of 20 cities in a recent survey it compared well in areas such as house prices, access to good schools, earnings, and lower crime rates. Accenting its popularity, Sutton Coldfield town centre has been awarded Purple Flag status for exceeding standards of excellence in managing the nightlife economy. The Restaurant Quarter invites clientele from near and far, with its 14 eclectic restaurants. The busy high street gives prominence to major retail chains and small local independents.
Businesses in Birmingham
It has the healthiest labour market and performs well in productivity (in the top three), attitudes and skills, and the city is the highest-performing region for the comprehensive size of labour market. Employing over 100,000 people in the manufacturing and engineering sector, the industry contributes billions of pounds to the national economy.
The Jewellery Quarter is the European leader in terms of dedicated jewellers in Europe, and one-third of jewellery manufactured in the UK is created here. Coins for circulation are no longer minted here, but the Birmingham Mint still produces commemorative medals and coins.
The city employs 111,500 people, or 23% of the workforce, in the financial and insurance services arena, the fourth largest number of employees in the sector in the UK. Two of the big four banks were founded here, Lloyds Bank and the Midland Bank.
The conference industry is equal to a massive 40% of the country’s total trade in seminars and trade shows.
69.9% of the local population is economically active, of which 57,5% is in active employment, 16,5% is unemployed and 7,1% is self-employed.
The Best Bits
With an abundance of museums, art galleries, theatres and excellent shopping centres the area is inviting more visitors for weekend breaks. There is an abundance of cultural activity including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Gas Hall and the Waterfall Gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Castle Fine Art, Ikon, the Jewellery Quarter, and the Royal Birmingham Institute of Fine Arts.
The Birmingham Hippodrome is the most popular theatre in the country, especially famous for its lavish pantomimes. Others include The Birmingham Repertory,known as the Rep, The Old Joint Stock Theatre and The Blue Orange.
The famous Bullring Shopping Centre and Bull Ring markets are both bustling, busy centres. History shows that shopping has been done here for centuries, dating back to the 12th century, when Henry II granted a charter to the site for markets to be held on Thursdays. Over the years it has continued to operate as markets, until the two shopping centres were constructed, one in the 60s and the second in 2003, and the latter one is now known as the Bullring. All manner of shops, restaurants and the like are represented here. Just the place for some retail therapy.
Green areas for long walks and nature spotting, such as Cannon Hill Park, Moseley Bog and Joy’s Wood.
The nightlife is exemplary, with top class restaurants, nightclubs and hundreds of pubs, including the famous Prince of Wales pub in Moseley. Birmingham also has an extensive grid of canals, most of which emanate from Sherborne Wharf, which is lined with lively bars and cafes.
Activities such as Cadbury World, the National Sea Life Centre, Halloween in Drayton Manor Park, Digbeth First Friday, Kings Heath Street Festival or cruising the canals in a narrow boat are all good, clean family fun.
It is a mere 28 miles from Birmingham city centre to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. There are many other day trips into the surrounding countryside.
Bringing the kids
Birmingham is well known for its good state schools with, operating on a catchment system. You would need to ensure that you reside in the catchment area of a particular school to be allocated a place for your child.
There are 355 primary schools and 98 secondary schools. There are a number of private schools, but these will charge entrance fees and may require entrance exams. There is an International School in Birmingham.
There are five universities: Birmingham, Aston, Newman, Birmingham City and University College Birmingham all catering to a combined total of 65,000 students. There is also 29 colleges offering a vast array of subjects.
Relocating to Birmingham
Birmingham is a manufacturing town with a mix of Edwardian, Victorian and modern architecture. It has many picturesque canals and large tracts of land given over to green areas.
An excellent education system and an educated workforce, the crime rate below the national average, numerous family activities, an efficient public transport system and a thriving economy make it an excellent city to live and work in. There is a large choice of areas in which to settle, depending on the needs of your family, with the options of ultra-modern loft living to large, period houses. With all these options, and if you aren’t familiar with the area, a relocation agent would help alleviate the stresses of moving and assist with advice on areas and schools.
An excellent education system and an educated workforce, the crime rate below the national average, numerous family activities, an efficient public transport system and a thriving economy make Birmingham an excellent city to live and work in.
Average Monthly Rent - Birmingham